IMPLANT DENTISTRY What Is A Dental Implant? Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances. Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile! Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and normally last many years. Reasons for dental implants: Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space Restore a patient’s confident smile Restore chewing, speech, and digestion Restore or enhance facial tissues Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable Implant Crowns (Caps) An Implant crown (or cap) is the same as a dental crown except that instead of the crown being placed on a natural tooth it is placed over an implant. An implant crown restores a missing tooth to its original shape, size and color giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile. Reasons for implant crowns: Broken or Fractured Teeth that need to be extracted Missing teeth When a tooth is not restorable with a ‘conventional’ dental crown or if a dental crown has poor prognosis Implant Bridges An implant bridge is just like a dental bridge and is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of crowns that go over two or more implants thereby filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Your dentist will be able to discuss with you if you would be a candidate for an implant-supported bridge. Implant bridges are highly durable and last many years, however they require regular follow-up care and may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear. Implant Supported Dentures Most people wearing complete dentures realize that one of the major problems with dentures is that they become loose and ill fitting over time. This is more commonly seen in mandibular (lower) dentures. Dental implants are the ideal solution for someone in that situation. It might be a good idea to have an implant-supported complete denture if your dentures have become loose and move around in the mouth and you constantly need relining or have to use denture adhesive to hold them in place. Your dentist will be able to discuss with you if you would be a candidate for implant-supported complete dentures.